Rebecca Solnit, whose mind and writings are among the most consistently enchanting of our time, explores this tender tango with the unknown in her altogether sublime collection of essays in A Field Guide to Getting Lost
I thoroughly enjoy her writings, having indulged in a few of her books and essays. And Getting Lost is one of the more personally transformative collection of essays I have had the pleasure of reading. Solnit, explores themes and issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and our place on this planet.
Solnit writes in the opening essay:
Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go. The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration — how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?
Henry Miller wrote: “On how one orients himself to the moment, depends the failure or fruitfulness of it.” we are all apart of this transitional process called – Life.
“There is an illusion of ‘end,’ a stasis seemingly like death. But it is only an illusion. Everything, at this crucial point, lies in the attitude which we assume towards the moment.”
T.S. Eliot’s poem Four Quarters – expounds on the journey of life and its self discovery, and ultimately learning to know ourselves. we are on a never-ending lifelong journey of exploration – of our self, environment, the world in which we live.Life is a destination, but prehaps we never really travel further than we really are at this present moment, all that changes is our understanding of the now …
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets
The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Sometimes we have to lose ourselves to find ourselves. Never to get lost is not to live.